MasterClass Lays Off 120 Staffers, About 20% of Its Headcount

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MasterClass, the celebrity-driven online learning subscription service with big-name Hollywood talent partners, has cut its headcount by 20%. CEO David Rogier cited “the worsening macroeconomic environment” for the cutbacks.

The layoffs by San Francisco-based MasterClass, which previously had about 600 employees, affected all the company’s teams.

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“Today is a sad day @masterclass,” Rogier tweeted Wednesday. “I made the really hard decision to reduce our team by 20% to adapt to the worsening macro environment and get to self sustainability faster.” He continued, “Our mission — to make it possible for anyone to learn from the best — hasn’t and won’t change. This very tough step will strengthen our position both financially and strategically, allowing us to serve our members, employees and instructors for many years to come.”

Launched in 2015, MasterClass provides access to more than 150 online courses led by experts and celebs including James Cameron, Shonda Rhimes, Ken Burns, Jodie Foster, Spike Lee, Martin Scorsese, Nas, Gordon Ramsay, Bob Iger, Metallica, Issa Rae, RuPaul, and Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton. An annual membership to MasterClass starts at $180/year.

In May 2021, MasterClass announced $225 million in new funding, giving it a valuation of $2.75 billion, CNBC reported. Investors include Fidelity, IVP, Javelin, NEA, Owl Ventures, Atomico, Bonnier, Cleo Capital, Dan Capital, NewView Capital, NextEquity Partners, Outlier Ventures, Powerhouse Capital, RPS Ventures, the Family Office of Ronald Lauder and UTA.

Rogier told Variety in an interview last year that the inspiration behind MasterClass was advice his grandmother once gave him — that education is something nobody can have taken away from them.

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